Committee looking at after action reviews, plans
Better safe than sorry describes Polk’s public safety committee that recently took the first steps to ensure police and first respondents get on hands practice with their critical emergency plans.
While there are plans on paper for dealing with school shootings, no practical, hands-on exercises have been taken yet.
“I’m planning to write a letter on behalf of the board, on behalf of Jennifer, asking the school board that we have a meeting to discuss the planning for a training exercise,” county manager Matt Denton said. “They’ve had no practical exercise, and I think it benefits everyone to do that.”
The practice is even more important when considering each school has their own custom response plan.
Officers arriving to a school shooting would have to quickly adapt to a school’s location, structure, and populationbased solely from their reading and instruction.
“We’ve got it on paper, you can study it all day long, but when they get on the scene, they’ve got to not even thinkthey just have to do,” Denton said.
The county police have always had an after-action plan, but the death of Detective Kristin Hearne sparked the need to take it further with more hands-on practice and planning.
“This all started after Kristin (Hearne) got killed, and Jennifer (Hulsey) was interested in making sure we had an after-action plan in place,” Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said. “We’ve had that for years. After a critical incident, we have a debriefing where we discuss what went wrong and what went right.”
The completion of the letter and the school board’s response are still pending, but should the two parties agree, the upcoming fall break will provide a wide window drill practice.
The county’s residents aren’t the only ones in danger, however.
Polk’s cat population has become too much for the animal shelter to handle, and having reached the legal holding limit, no more stray cats can be taken in.
With felines being euthanized and the feral population rising, the public safety committee has officially taken bids to extend the cat room and make room for more strays.
The price bids for a 16 by 20-foot addition to the shelter are expected by October 17. Those interested in adopting or reclaiming a pet can visit animal control at 1215 Veal St, Cedartown.
Denton also touched on the prisoner housing fee and cited that the document was nearing completion.
The new intergovernmental agreement will increase the prisoner housing fees for the municipalities for a threeyear period in hopes of finally breaking even and making the jails more sustainable for the county and citizens.
County officials discussed after action briefings at the Public Safety Committee meeting.